"We change lots of other things as the weather gets colder – clothes, home décor, foods we prefer. It’s only natural that we do the same with wine,” says Fran Avery, co-owner of Crave, a gourmet food and gift store in Lake Charles. She says lush, rich wines are more popular in winter. "I think, instinctively, we are more likely to choose wines that have more texture and layers, with a lot of dimension in colder months.” Melanie McMullen, Crave co-owner, says these wines with added depth and dimension leave you with a warm, toasty feeling, and are typically red wines. But don’t assume that white wines have to be left out in the cold during the winter months. "It’s a myth that red wines are for winter and whites are only for spring and summer. If you love white wine, you don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy it again. Any alcohol has a warming effect, and you may want to consider serving your white wine less chilled than you would in the summer, but the key is to choose what you enjoy, whether it’s white or red. That’s what’s important regardless of the season.”
If you’re still not quite sure what wines you should sip on in winter, Avery suggests letting your menu be your guide. "Chances are you’ll be serving more of your favorite comfort foods during the winter months, with creamy sauces, savory roasts and hearty soups. If you choose a wine to complement these types of dishes, you’ll be gravitating toward heartier, spicier wines,” she says.
Crave offers the following suggestion for perfectly pairing wines with winter comfort food:
Shiraz: Hearty and spicy, this red wine goes well with spicy food, red meat and herbed sauces.
Merlot: Easy on the palate, this red is perfect for novice wine drinkers and goes with just about anything. Pasta, red meat and smoked or grilled foods make for the best pairings.
Cabernet sauvignon: This wine is extremely robust, so let its flavor shine and pair it with a red meat that has been simply prepared.
Pinot noir: This wine is delicate and fresh, making it an excellent choice for tomato-based pastas, grilled salmon, chicken, lamb and vegetables.
Chardonnay: This wide-bodied and velvety white wine is a good choice for grilled fish and chicken dishes as well as creamy sauces and soups.
Sauvignon blanc: Lighter and fresher than chardonnay, this wine pairs even better with white fish and also works well with poultry, salads and soups.
Crave is located at 2801 Ryan Street in Lake Charles. Call (337) 421-0040 for more information or visit www.cravegiftbaskets.com.